I used to watch Blue Peter on TV when I was a kid. They liked to tell us how to make things--towers, castles, racing cars, fruit cakes with strawberry filling, and more--and they'd always show us every step, from start to completed project. Of course, some steps, like baking the cake, took longer than the episode ran. So then they'd put the mix to one side and say, "Here's one I prepared earlier."
My husband and our youngest son took vacations from work over Christmas so I thought I'd join them. Instead of reading and writing for my scheduled book reviews (a schedule that now runs through to December 2014!), I read Christmas presents. My family and friends bought me (and sometimes loaned me) some wonderful reading gifts, and I'll thoroughly enjoy writing and posting reviews of them soon. But today, here are some I prepared earlier--reviews of books I read before Christmas, which have languished unposted while I enjoyed leftover turkey, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake, and more...
I hope you enjoyed your turnkey and Christmas pudding and Christmas cake, or whatever you ate. I hope you enjoyed your families, your memories, your friends... And I wish you a happy New Year, filled with wonderful epiphanies.
Oh, and happy Epiphany too, because today's the day we celebrate gifts brought by kings to a King, while I offer book reviews to readers and authors... and drink coffee!
First is novel of FBI investigation crossed with paranormal mystery: Extreme Liquidation, by Gary Sarta. It's got a great cat, and a wonderful chapter told from the cat's point of view. It's also got lots of introspective self-analysis, some really good dream sequences, an evil antagonist who wants to destroy the world, and deception in high places. Enjoy with a cup of dark, intense, 5star coffee.
Better Off Dead, by Ryan King is a short story set in the modern world where a woman haunted by the past sets off into a very strange future. Not quite revenge; not quite evil; not quite gleeful; it's an intriguing and definitely thought-provoking tale, best enjoyed with another dark 5star coffee.
Sydney’s Song, by Ia Uaro, is aimed at younger readers--young adult or older/maturer middle-grade. It's set in Australia and the US, around the time of the Sydney Olympics and the changing of the century. In a world in between paper and internet, a girl in between self-centered childhood and generous adulthood comes of age. Slow and introspective at the start, the story speeds up when it's protagonist begins to care for someone other than herself. The novel's filled with great call-center stories, often hilarious snippets of dialog, and some thought-provoking ideas on growing up. Enjoy a long leisurely read with a balanced, full-flavored 3star coffee.
Aimed at possibly younger middle-grade readers, The Alien Mind, by Virginia Jennings combines elements of Stargate, X-Men, Superman, the 4400 and more into a tale of a teenage girl, kidnapped by aliens as a child, now returned to save the world. But she has more than one world to save, and her fellow abductees are in danger. She also has superpowers... and maybe so do our kids. It's a little long-winded--you might need more than one cup of 5star dark intense coffee for this intense tale.
Finally, last in my pre-Christmas reading is The Kingdom of Vosh, by Jason C. Conley, an enjoyable, middle-grade steampunk novel set in a beautifully imagined world, well-described from its alien creatures to its machines, filled with great characters, action, and intrigue. There's a satisfying bad guy, a spoiled Princess who slowly comes of age, a very enjoyably enigmatic dragon-dog-servant, and lots lots more in this rich tale. Enjoy with a 4star rich cup of coffee.
Watch this space for reviews of my Christmas present reads, coming soon! And please enjoy a happy Epiphany with your coffee today.